The Importance of Interconnection in ASEAN Energy Infrastructures

The ASEAN Power Grid (APG) is one of ASEAN’s seven programme areas that fall under the ASEAN energy blueprint, the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase 1: 2016-2025.  ASEAN established the electricity interconnecting arrangements within the region to enhance electricity trade across borders.  APG is expected to help ASEAN Member States (AMS) to meet the rising energy demand, improve access to energy services and reduce the costs of developing an energy infrastructure.

To shed light on the importance of APG for ASEAN energy sector, an APG Summit was organised in Vientiane, Lao PDR, on 21 – 23 May 2018.  Hosted by Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines, the APG Summit 2018 was opened by Minister Dr.  Khammany Inthirath.  In his opening remark, he referred to an assessment by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), which noted that significant amount of investment is required to fulfil the growing demand on electricity. The 5th ASEAN Energy Outlook (AEO5) released by ACE last year identifies that ASEAN requires a total investment of USD 214.3 billion to reach its target of 23% renewable energy in the energy mix by 2025.

Credit: Confexhub

ACE was invited to deliver a special address at the opening ceremony.  The ACE’s Executive Director, Ir. Dr. Sanjayan Velautham shared about the prospects and opportunities of power generation in ASEAN.  He also expressed his delight to see the progress of APG through the signing of the Energy Purchase and Wheeling Agreement (EPWA) among Lao PDR, Thailand and Malaysia (LTM), taking place during the 35th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting in Manila last year.  EPWA has brought into reality the very first multilateral electricity trading since January this year.  Dr. Velautham added that as part of ACE’s support to realising APG, ACE is also initiating the ASEAN Interconnection Masterplan Study III that is intended to be presented to the Ministers in 2019.  The study will provide a comprehensive plan of regional transmission network that links the ASEAN power systems. (featured photo credit:  Confexhub)